Aim: Haemophilus influenzae continues to cause invasive disease in children despite widespread Hib immunisation. The significance of non-B serotypes continues to be investigated, with evidence of increased invasive non-typeable H. influenzae (NTHi) world-wide. The aim of this study was to examine the current epidemiological and clinical features of invasive H. influenzae disease in children in Queensland, Australia.
Methods: A retrospective review was performed of all cases of invasive H. influenzae disease in children <18 years of age in Queensland between January 2002 and December 2011. Cases were identified from pathology records and data requested from treating hospitals.
Results: Laboratory data were obtained for 144 cases and clinical/demographic data for 123 cases. The majority (72%) of cases were children <5 years of age. Annual incidence rate for all children <5 years was 7.4/100000, and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children <5years was 10.2/100000. Serotype was reported for 132 isolates, 69 NTHi and 63 encapsulated strains. The most common clinical diagnoses were pneumonia, meningitis and bacteraemia without clinical focus. Of the patients, 5 patients died, and 12 had significant morbidity at hospital discharge.
Conclusions: While rates of invasive H. influenzae disease have decreased dramatically following the introduction of Hib vaccination, H. influenzae remains a cause of significant morbidity and mortality, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children remain particularly vulnerable.